Perhaps you’re sitting at your desk right now wondering what on earth you’re doing in your current job. Maybe you’re just not enjoying it, maybe you can’t imagine progressing to the level you want or perhaps your passions lie elsewhere and you want to pursue them.
Whatever your reasons, many of us face points in our life where we question whether we’re working in the right field. For some, those thoughts dissipate and lead to nothing, but for others they motivate a push for a full-blown career change.
Make no mistake, changing career is a big commitment and any move should be carefully considered before it’s actively pursued. Given the potential financial, professional and emotional strain a switch can put you under, it’s important you try and make things as stress-free as possible. Here’s how you do it.
Do your research
Stating the obvious, it’s fair to say you shouldn’t leap into another career without establishing what you’re getting into. Often, switching industries will mean starting again, meaning a drop in pay, a drop in seniority and an entirely new knowledge base to pick up on. With that in mind, it’s paramount that you’ve done every bit of research you can in order to come to the decision that your new career path will be better than the last.
The research should also cover the nitty-gritty of landing a job in a specific industry. Does this position require a plethora of pre-employment tests, ranging from medical exams to drug tests? As to the latter, it helps to know the legal status of marijuana in your state as it matters to you and your job prospects. It’s better to mentally and physically prepare yourself for rigorous tests and interviews ahead.
Get a grasp of the true guts of the industry, the harsher realities of a role within it and the problems you might face alongside all the perks. If a switch still sounds good once you’ve covered every corner of your potential move, you can at least head into it knowing you’ve done your due diligence.
Don’t get hung up on the “perfect” job
The reason most people want to move is because they lack passion for what they do and want to enjoy their Monday to Friday more. Head onto LinkedIn or any other social media platform and you’ll be flooded with “make your passion your job” type messages – the kind that get people pondering on what they’re doing in the first place.
The truth is, away from the mirage of social media, most of us don’t get to make our true passion our job. There is, after all, a reason we get paid to do our roles. In reality, a good aim is to find an industry you’re interested in and can see a future in, and work from there.
Don’t get bogged down with finding the ultimate dream job, sometimes you’re better keeping your passions as hobbies.
Weigh up what matters to you the most
As mentioned previously, a career move often means a seismic shift in your professional life. If you’ve climbed the ladder in your current industry, a new start means climbing right back down again, which in turn usually means less money.
It’s essential you recognise these realities before making the move and decide whether to stick or twist based on what matters most to you. For example, say you’re on the verge of buying a house or having a baby, it might not be an ideal time to leave a high paying role for a junior position elsewhere. Likewise, if you’ve no financial commitments and know you can survive on less – and would rather a more enjoyable day than more money in the bank – then you can pursue a move.
Being prepared financially is a huge element of making a career change less stressful. You need to be financially comfortable through the process, whether that’s through dipping into savings, spreading out your monthly costs or just reining in your cost of living.
Talk to those around you
You’re not the only person who’s sat in the office questioning their existence. Plenty of people have acted on impulse and moved careers, and you’ll probably know a few people who have.
You’ll want to look to your family and friends for support anyway. Those closest to you will be able to offer you sound, impartial and considered advice, even a bit of brutal honesty if you need it, which can help you make a decision. Try and find someone to speak to who’s done it before – they can give you a true rundown of what to expect.
When it comes to a potential career change, knowledge is power. Get all the information you can on your new industry before you make the switch, then you can make a truly considered decision on whether it’s right for you.